Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Episode #5: Happy Valentine's Day! Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane

Note: A correction has been noted for episode #4. Issues 12-18 of New Gods, and issues 19-25 of Mister Miracle were done by other artists in 1978. Jack Kirby was no longer working for DC by that time.

I hope everyone enjoyed Valentine's Day. For the Superman Fan Podcast, the episode for the week of Valentine's Day will feature the loves of Superman's life. And for this first Valentine's Day episode, who else can we start with but the woman who was there from the very first issue of Action Comics, Lois Lane!

Action Comics #1 established the Clark Kent / Lois Lane / Superman love triangle that lasted throught six decades, until Clark revealed his secret identity to Lois after they became engaged.

There were several inspirations for Lois Lane, probably more than those noted here. Similar relationships between women and masked adventurers in literature were nothing new in the 1930's, when Siegel and Shuster were creating Superman. One example was The Scarlet Pimpernell, which Siegel and Shuster had probably read.

There were several real life inspirations for Lois as well. In the 1930's the actress Glenda Farrell starred as Torchy Blaine, a female reporter, in a series of films, the first of which was Smart Blonde.

In Glenville High School in Cleveland, fellow student Lois Amster was another inspiration for Lois Lane. She was a student that Jerry Siegel had a crush on but never pursued.

The real life first model for Lois Lane was Jolan Kovacs (Joane Carter). She had placed an ad in a mewspaper seeking work as an artitst'smodel to help earn money for her family. Siegel and Shusterhired her, and all three were surprised at houw young they were. She posed for Joe, chapperoned by her mother. Ten years later she met Siegel and Shuster again, and eventually married Jerry, a second marriaged for both. They would have one daughter, Laura.
The first solo Lois Lane story was published in Superman #28, May/June 1944, titled Lois Lane, Girl Reporter. It is credited as having been written by Don Cameron and drawn by Ed Dobrokta, although the credit in the first panel is credited as "by Jerry and Joe". This might mean they worked for the studio that Siegel and Shuster had established in Cleveland to produce their Superman stories. But it's just a guess on my part.
Lois Lane would eventually receive her own comic book, titled Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane, first published with the May/April 1958 issue. It ran for 137 issues, ending with the September/October 1974 issue. Her solo stories were merged, along with Jimmy Olsen's and Supergirl's into Superman Family. which continued the numbering of Jimmy Olsen's title.
Several stories of interest in Lois's relationship with Clark Kent / Superman are:
- Action Comics #484: Superman Takes A Wife (The Wedding of the Earth-2 Superman and Lois Lane)
Editor: Julius Schwartz
Cover: penciller: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, inker: Dick Giordano
Story: writer: Cary Bates, penciller: Curt Swan, inker: Joe Giella, letter: Ben Oda, colorist" Tatjana Woods.
The current Superman:
Clark and Lois became engaged in Superman #50 (1987 - present), in a story titled, The Human Factor, part 4 of 4 of the story Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite, December 1990.
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover artist: Jerry Ordway
Story: writer/artist: Jerry Ordway
artists: penciller: Dan Jurgens, inker: Brett Breeding; penciller: Kerry Gammil, inker: Dennis Janke; penciller: Curt Swan, inker: John Byrne; letter: John Costanza, colorist Glenn Whitmore.
Clark/Superman revealed his identity to Lois in: Action Comics #662, Secrets in the Night February 1991, originally on sale January 8, 1991.
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover: penciller: Kerry Gammil, inker: Brett Breeding
Story: writer: Roger Stern, artist: Bob McLeod, letter: Bill Oakley, colorist: Glen Whitmore.
To read the story of the wedding of Lois and Clark in DC continuity, you can find it in the DC trade paperback Superman: The Wedding and Beyond (1998).
The artist for the entire run of Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane was Kurt Schaffenberger. He began his career in the 1940's with Fawcett Comics, doing backgrounds for Captain Marvel stories. During WW II he worked for intelligence since, being of German descent, he could translate German documents. After the war he returned to Fawcett to work in the studio of C. C. Beck and Pete Costanza on Captain Marvel and Isis the Invisible stories.
After Fawcett closed their comic book line after settling with DC over their lawsuit over Captain Marvel, Kurt began working for DC Comics. Along with pencilling Lois Lane, Kurt succeeded Jim Mooney on Supergirl, and also became the feature artist on Superman Family.
Kurt Schaffenberger was one of a number of writers and artists who went to DC in the late 1960's to petition for better pay and benefits. Whether by design or by accident can't be proven, but every member of this group slowly received less work from DC, as new blood entered the company, and the "old timers" eventually all left the company.
Kurt went on to work for other comic book publishers, including Marvel, and also did advertising and promotional comics. In the 1970's he illustrated children's books.
An interesting website on Kurt Schaffenberger can be found at:
A great book on the art and career of Kurt Schaffenberger is Hero Gets Girl: The Life and Art of Kurt Schaffenberger, by Mark Volger, published by TwoMorrows,

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